When does Christian concern become gossip? This becomes an important issue when compassionate concern involves issues of confidentiality especially, surrounding the disclosure (otherwise) of HIV status. Always be on guard and sensitive to the appropriateness of sharing information (Ps 141:3). True friends and caring families share confidential matters but gossipers are unable to handle the responsibility of knowing when to keep secrets.
Wisdom from Proverbs reminds us that relationships can be fractured through gossip even when there is no malicious intent. Gossip is described as a good meal that is attractive and easily swallowed. “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts” (18:18). Gossip betrays a confidence (11:13; 20:19), feeds quarrels (26:20), causes problems and separates friends (16:28).
For reflection and discussion:
From SIM's AIDSLink #43, by SIM HIV/AIDS Consultant Diane Marshall.
- Keep confidences. If in doubt, always keep silent: 10:19; 11:13; 15:4; 17:28
- Counsel wisely: 12:18; 27:9; 16:21
- Be kind: 12:25. The wise women of Proverbs 31 uses her words for kindness: 31:26
- Be committed to fostering healthy friendships: 17:17; 18:24
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